Cultures of the Future: The Atomized Organization*
Throughout this book we've looked at the past triumphs and present necessities of corporate culture. And in the process we've argued for a reinvestment in the shared values, heroes, rites, and rituals that have made American business a success story around the world. But there's an even more compelling reason to begin fostering strong cultures in all types of organizations--the future.
We see a revolution on the horizon that holds far-reaching implications for the American corporation. A combination of forces--from the rapidly changing business environment to the new work force to astonishing advances in technology--is forging a breakdown of the large traditional, hierarchical organizations that have dominated in the past. We think that this dismantling will result in highly decentralized organizations in which the work of the corporation will be done in small, autonomous units linked to the mega-corporation by new telecommunications and computer technologies. This change can turn us all into entrepreneurs and in the process will transform the role of middle management. Motivation will come from the opportunity to accomplish complex tasks in an intimate, relatively simple work environment. We won't waste time and energy worrying about how to climb the corporate ladder because there won't be one. Most middle- management rungs will be replaced by mechanisms of social influence--by emphasis on culture. We see it as a no-boss business. We call it the atomized organization. For it to work, strong cultural ties and a new kind of symbolic management will be required.____________________